U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sharply rebuked Iran's supreme leader and president Friday, describing their latest anti-Israel rhetoric as "offensive and inflammatory."
At a rally Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamadinejad told thousands of screaming worshipers at Tehran University that a new Middle East would have no trace of Americans or Israelis.
Earlier this week, Iranian media reported that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel would one day be returned to the Palestinian nation and would cease to exist.
Secretary-General Ban's statement said that all leaders in the region should use their voices to lower, rather than to escalate tensions.
President Ahmadinejad's remarks Friday were made during Quds day (Jerusalem), on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.
Israel considers Iran to be a looming threat because of its nuclear and missile programs. Tehran denies it has a weapons program.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.